How to Start a Cosmetology Business

Madilyn W., December 18, 2021

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Cosmetology has always been a popular industry, but what is it? What are the people called who work in cosmetology? These people are called cosmetologists, and they work on a wide range of things in the beauty industry.

What is Cosmetology

That said, what is it they all actually do? More importantly, how do they start a cosmetology business? Cosmetologists can:

  • Work on hair services
  • Perform skin services
  • Do nail services

But it all depends on the beauty school and state. However, it usually is all about hair.

Cosmetologists can learn different skills, but they usually specialize in one of the three services. There might be some that cross over in other skills. They might not work full-time in multiple ones. Hair services include things like haircuts, hairstyles, and chemical treatments. Skin services cosmetologists are called esthetics and they work on facials, waxing, and tweezing. Nail services cosmetologists work on manicures and pedicures, gel nails, and acrylic nails.

How to become a Cosmetologist

If any of the above things sound interesting, you might want to be a cosmetologist. Such as any other career, the first step is to go to school. There is a specific school to attend and not just a program. The school is called cosmetology school, and here you will be able to learn:

  • how to beautify any of the three main categories
  • can learn business practices
  • even gain real-world experience

After finishing school, there is a final test called the state board. This test makes sure a person is ready to start their career as a cosmetologist and tests the knowledge learned at school. After they pass the board, the next step is to apply for a cosmetology business license. It states a person can legally provide hair, skin, and nail services for their clients, whether in a company already created or their own business. At this point, one question remains: how do I start my own cosmetology business?

Make a Business Plan

Once you obtain your cosmetology license and want to open up your own business, you can start making your business plan. However, a cosmetology license is only one of the many licenses that are needed to run a legal cosmetology business. Before doing that, it is best to check in with the state and local city government to make sure that everything is up to date with the regulations as well as having the correct insurance for your business. Other licenses include:

A business license: This is standard for all businesses. SBA (Small Business Administration) has all up to date and more information.

License for workers: every employee in a cosmetology business must have a license to do their job. Whether they are coloring and cutting hair, doing nails, or doing makeup. If you want more specific information, check your state’s Cosmetology Department.

Health Inspection: there are various health inspections needed to be passed. It is important to meet sanitary requirements. With the way the world has been for the last couple of years, it is common to sanitize and clean the spaces between every client.

Following obtaining all the licenses, you need to hire employees. Employees need to be qualified, licensed, and well-trained. If an employee doesn’t do their work well or injures a customer, it will fall back on you, the owner. A handy way to get these qualified employees is to partner with the local beauty school. After getting enough employees, you need to have a clear procedure manual that helps them from the moment they start.

Since we have found a connection with a local beauty school it is useful to explore a connection with mentors. As a new cosmetology business owner, there is quite a bit that might not be known, or maybe a few secrets to learn. A mentor such as the Professional Cosmetology Association will be helpful by providing your business with blueprints, marketing ideas, and an abundance of experience.

Forming connections is the first step in marketing your cosmetology business. Getting local connections will help get customers in your community. Finding people in your community will make your business grow faster. 

Marketing Your Business Locally

Once you have a complete business plan, you need to form connections with others and market your business. As mentioned above, the first and best way to market your cosmetology business is to go local. There are a lot of unique ways to do this. Such as putting the word out at the local cosmetology business can make a way to get employees and have their friends and family as clients wanting to see how well their student can work. It is possible to put up fliers at the school to advertise new clients and spread the word.

More local ways to market your cosmetology business include going to stores with beauty in mind. A beauty store has people interested in beauty, and it is possible they would like to work in that field, or maybe they want to try out a new salon. Forming a connection with those business owners can lead to going in and talking to their customers or putting up filers, so there is always something there to tell you about your cosmetology business.

Marketing your cosmetology business can happen in many ways after extorting all local ones, so it is time to explore marketing online. However, make sure these local ways continue because the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth. 

Create an Online Presence

The first thing needed for an online presence is a website. The website will have all kinds of information that clients want to know. A website makes a permanent place that shares everything a client wants to know without putting a lot of work and stress on you as a business owner. It also has a constant place to share updates. A website will have the following information:

  • Location
  • Hours
  • Services and their pricing

A website will only get so far with people, even with constant updates. There needs to be more of an online presence. Using social media can spread information about your cosmetology business in small chunks. People don’t always have attention spans to read long articles or scour a website for pieces of information. 

Social media has word counts on their app. Twitter, for example, only allows 280 characters. So it is important to try and summarize things to this point. But remember, constant and regular updates are expected, so you don’t need to jam everything in one post. Experts claim it is better to stick to around 40 – 50 characters. 

Creating the Business Space

Make sure that word about your cosmetology is spread around, then it is time to continue to build your business. A regular building should be happening while you are marketing, with marketing the main focus. Once you’re done, turn your attention to making the space itself look as attractive as possible!

Having a good business space starts with having a great location. Starting a business in a popular area is a good idea, bonus if it is near a beauty shop. That way people will be more inclined to check it out since their mind is already made up of what they are out in town.

Once you’ve spread the word, have prospective employees on deck and clients waiting at the door the next step is to find suppliers and get equipment. Cosmetology businesses have a lot of specific equipment and furniture that they need. Make sure there are sinks, vanities, mirrors, and chairs. Chairs include waiting, at the vanity, and specific hair features.

Keep in mind that equipment can be expensive. It may be fun to dream big and have multiple stations set up, but it is important to scale carefully. You want to have decent walking space, try not to load up the business with too many stations. Two or three of each may be just enough.

In conclusion…

Always remember that all parts of the cosmetology business. Dreaming big is nice, but not realistic. It may do more harm than good. Only hire as many people as you need, sure it is nice to help out everybody, but that isn’t reasonable. Only buy a fraction of products instead of all of them. It is better to buy more later instead of having an abundance. 

Manage your money nicely and collect payments on time. When buying a minimal and just necessary amount of supplies, it is easier to stretch your money. Managing money can be difficult, and it is even worse when you want to start a cosmetology business. It takes up a lot of time that could be useful in other parts of the business. 

If you are looking for a place to help manage your time with business and financial aspects, then Persona is a great place to go. It groups everything up in one place to save time and make a better experience with your new cosmetology business. 

Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. it's 100% free, download it now.


Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. Download it now, it's 100% free.

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